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Maldiviana |  What To Do
 
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Never a dull moment…

Sip tea in the hill country, bathe under a cool waterfall, go on a pilgrimage to an ancient temple and even get up close and personal with an elephant.

 
POPULAR TOURS
  • Mini Island Tour    

    Mini Island Tour

    This tour will take you to historic Dambulla Cave Temple to the Dalada Temple and various cultural activities in Kandy including the Royal...

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  • Seat-in-coach Tour    

    Seat-in-coach Tour

    This is a group tour operated daily. Minimum number of participants is 2 (two) persons. Bookings are accepted until 3 days before each tour...

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  • Peace n Serenity Tour    

    Peace n Serenity Tour

    Explore the unique island heritage. Head to the Kandy town and soak up its historic past and culture, explore Dambulla rock temple, climb...

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What To Do

If you are thinking of exploring Sri Lanka’s capital city, shopping would be a good way to go. The city has many great places where clothes, textiles, antiques and souvenirs are available.

While great for relaxing, the beaches are also popular for water sports. Sri Lankan beaches are known for their waves: Negombo has ideal water conditions for sports such as kite surfing, wake surfing and surfing, period; even if you are just a beginner you may always find a trainer and give it a go. Arugam Bay and another coastal town named Kalpitiya are great spots for whale and dolphin watching.

Sri Lanka’s national parks provide great opportunities for Jeep Safari. Mountain biking is a favourite mode of travelling and for taking in the scenery amongst independent travelers.

Some hot attractions across the island are hot air balloon rides in Kandalama, bird watching in Muthurajawela marsh, water sports in Negombo, camping in Bundala national park, white water rafting in Kitulgala, dolphin and whale watching in Kalpitiya, Cycling in the cultural triangle, surfing in Arugam Bay, trekking up mountains, canoeing, travelling in an observation cart from Nuwara Eliya to Colombo and trekking up to Adam’s peak and Knuckles Mt. range.

Night life, Cafes and Shopping

Nightlife includes nightclubs, discos, casinos, bars, and pubs. Much of the after-dark entertainment takes place around the Fort and Cinnamon Gardens area of the city. Barista and Coffee Bean are popular hangouts among expats and city locals while shopping malls and department stores have food courts and other eateries.

Beaches

Matara

About 160 km from Colombo towards the South lies Matara, popular for its tree-shaded beaches. On coming here Polhena beach, the point at Totamuna where the Nilwala River meets the sea and Crow Island are musts to be explored. Polhena Reef is a popular bathing spot that is protected by a natural coral reef. The beaches are clean and inviting enough for snorkeling and diving. Fishing too can be done here. Also take a trip to Dondra Point which is the southernmost point in Sri Lanka and also a popular attraction among tourists.

Mirissa

Breathtaking expanse of waves and sand, Mirissa provides a wonderful destination for independent travelers and surfers on the southern coastal belt. A small fishing village, the best time to catch the waves is from October-March.

Tangalle

In the deep south of Sri Lanka you’ll find Tangalle, located between the Matara and Hambantota.
Known for its deserted beaches and idyllic natural environment, Tangalle attracts true travelers to the island. The most popular spots for sea bathing, sunbathing, swimming, surfing and also snorkeling are situated in the nearby tiny villages by the sea like Medilla, Kudawella, Goyambokke, Mawella, and Seenimodera and Pallikaduwe.

Surfing

Arugam Bay

With pristine blue beaches, Arugam Bay is a remote area high up on the East Coast that is now being popularized due to increasing tourism prospects in the island. Recognized as a top 10 place for surfing in the world, it is sacred ground for water sport lovers and also wildlife enthusiasts. The best time to visit is between May and November when the strong wind is offshore for at least half a day.

The shores of Trincomalee are also great for surfing.

Boat Safari

Bentota

The lagoon and Maadu River offer many possibilities such as jet skiing, body surfing, diving, windsurfing, and parasailing while you can explore the lagoon and river with a charming river ride. On the ride you can make several stops at temples, cinnamon estates and other places of interest located by the banks.

Koggala
Where a scenic river and lake dominate, this town is home to one of Sri Lanka’s greatest writers of all Time: Martine Wickramasinghe. He used one of the many islets in Koggala, island Madol Doova (meaning mangrove islet), as the setting for his book also named Madol Doova. Trips to the island are possible by boat. The home of the author too can be visited. Koggala is great for bird watching and canoeing

Snorkeling and Diving

Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa is a popular beach town that is dotted with guesthouses and hotels. When its night time the shore is lit up and music can be heard from the guesthouses; some of these act as resident nightclubs, or something close to that.

You can do almost anything you would do in a beach town from snorkeling to see wonderful corals, boogie boarding or surfing and more. There are also several dive stations where you can become a PADI qualified diver and explore the diverse marine life in Hikkaduwa’s coral reefs.

The place couldn’t be more alive with the advent of the annual Hikka Festival which usually happens in July.

Unawatuna

Leaving behind the coastal towns of Bentota, Beruwala and HIkkaduwa, you will end up in Unawatuna, one of the most scenic beaches in the island where the water is an aquamarine blue. Unawatuna is great for scuba diving and snorkeling. The town has a bit of a history as the Dutch built houses for their officials in Unawatuna. Some of these such as the Nooit Gedacht hotel, Unawatuna Hospital and the mansion Maharambe can still be seen today. Unawatuna is also home to over sixty species of endemic birds and the rare Lesser Whistling Duck, Loten’s Sunbird and the Asian Palm Swift. These can be spotted by heading over on an eco trek to the Rumassala Hillock a little off town. However this area is under threat due to further development from the Galle Port. If you are heading to Rumassala don’t forget to check out the Japanese Pagoda that lies at the top. Fish and turtles also can be seen on the shallows of Unawatuna.

Whale and Dolphin Watching

Trincomalee

A port city on the East Coast, the city is built on a peninsula. In history it acted as one of the Sri Lanka’s major ports. With some of the bluest waters encountered in the island, the seas are calm and inviting. The beaches are made for scuba diving and fishing. Whale watching is one of Trincomalee’s highlights. You can even take in some culture by visiting the Thirukonesvaram Kovil: one of the oldest Hindu temples in Sri Lanka. The city has a large Tamil community and has its own unique vibe that is endearing.

Kalpitiya

Thanks to the end of a civil war Sri Lanka is becoming a popular attraction for dolphin and whale watching. Kalpitiya is one of the best places for dolphin watching. During the season up to 1000 dolphins can be witnessed. The peak months for whale sightings are from November to March. Blue whales and Sperm whales visit island waters. Kalpitiya is just 160 km from Colombo. Unspoilt beaches and diving opportunities are some other highlights found in Kalpitiya. You can even have a go at canoeing, or 4-wheel drive your way up sand dunes to watch the evening sunset.

Dondra Point

Dondra Point has long been one of the main points for whale watching. Sperm and Blue whales can be sighted from December to April. Spinner dolphins too can be seen here. Trips can be arranged on trawler boats and usually last a good 3 hours. Dondra point can be reached from Galle, Tangalle, Mirissa and any other poular beach locations in Sri Lanka. Dondra also holds the famous ancient temple in honour of God Vishnu.

Antiquing

The antiques in Sri Lanka date as far back to the Dutch, Portuguese and British periods. These could be anything from old furniture, china, glass ware brassware, wall and ceiling fixtures and fittings, wooden doors, windows and frames fittings to old crockery and ornaments.

Galle Fort- Roam the streets in Galle Fort and step into the quaint looking antique shops that stud the historic site (see Galle Fort). Whether you are serious in buying or not, it’s still a treat.

Colombo has several exclusive antique stores where items range from quaint and rustic to luxurious vintage.

Shopping

Pettah

It’s the ultimate place to go shopping for everything and anything. Visit the world market for export quality/imported goods at bargain prices. Parking is a hassle so it’s advisable that you take a tuk-tuk, to get there and back. The people are inviting and ever helpful. If you are up for some considerable amounts of walking through the streets you could end up with some great items on hand. Don’t forget to bargain.

Kandy

Even with all the sightseeing in Kandy, still manage to get some shopping done as it is probably the best place to buy most of the handicrafts produced in Sri Lanka because there are number of shops catering to the tourists. They offer great bargains.

Ratnapura

Known as the City of gems this is the place for buying gems and precious stones as you will discover shop after shop that specializes in polished and cut Sri Lankan gems and exquisite jewellery.

Ride in a tuk-tuk

Locals that don’t have the means of private transport, they rely on the buses or trains that are not without charm for the foreign traveler. For those who prefer a ride more comfortable there is the tuk-tuk- a three wheeler. Three-wheelers with fitted meters have become popular in the island and are known as meter taxis. They offer you a fair deal. All you’ve got to do is call their hotline and they’ll get you to your destination.

Safaris

Yala

The most visited and second largest park in Sri Lanka, the park was made a wildlife sanctuary in 1900 and late a National Park. The place is singularly important for its conservation of Sri Lankan elephants and aquatic birds. The park consists of 5 blocks, of which, two are open to the public: Ruhuna National Park and Kumana national Park. Yala lays Southeast of Sri Lanka and has a variety of ecosystems that include forests of different types, grasslands, wetlands and sandy beaches. The Park is great for spotting leopards. Golden palm civets, red slender loris, fishing cat and wild water buffalo are some of the other mammals at Yala. The elephant population varies from 300-350.

At no one time are you allowed out of your vehicle and permission must be obtained to enter. The park has accommodation facilities that must be booked in advance.

Habarana

Habarana is located close to heritage sites Dambulla rock temple and Sigiriya. Safari rides are a famous attraction among tourists where you can travel to the Habarana National Park that has a sizeable population of elephants. Even ride on the back of an elephant. Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura are just an hour’s drive away so it’s a great rallying point for history lovers as well. Habarana is also known for its high-end accommodation facilities.

Udawalawe National Park

Lying between the borders of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan Elephants. The park was created as a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. The park is great for spotting endemic and migratory species of birds as well as Mugger crocodiles usually seen sunning by the water banks. During the season, flocks of painted storks can be scene dominating the waterholes. Lone elephants and matriarch herds can be observed as you snake your way through the different treks. The park varies between marshes, riverine forest and grasslands.

Wasgomuwa National Park

As you drive along the Habarana Polonnaruwa road you will come across Wasgomuwa Park that can be accessed through Giritale or Naula. The river is surrounded by the Mahaweil and Amban Rivers. Located in the dry zone the vegetation is mainly forest and open plains in the southeastern and eastern section of the park. The best time to visit Wasgomuwa will be June and September where elephants can be seen in numbers and the endangered sloth bear can be observed with a little luck. The park further inhabits leopards, fishing cats, the endangered rusty spotted cat and Sambhar deer.

Wilpattu National Park

Wilpattu meaning land of lakes is located in the lowland dry zone in the island towards the Northwest coast. Its unique features are as you guessed it: natural lakes or Willus. The largest park in the island there are an overwhelming sixty lakes and tanks here. The place is famous for its leopard population although it is unknown how many inhabit the park. If you do go, visit the mangrove swamp known as the Kumana Willu. Here many water birds nest in the period May-June. Pelicans, Spoonbills Herons, White Ibis Egrets, Painted storks are regularly sighted here. Most of the forest is studded by mangrove trees and another tree species called Kumbuk. Elephants too make their home here as do many other mammals such as leopard, monkeys, deer, hare and foxes.

Catamarans and Kite Surfing

Negombo

Oruwa or wooden catamarans are symbolic of the fishing village lifestyle in this town. Come sunset and you can witness fishermen bringing home catches of seer, skipjack, amberjacks and pomfrets. Fishing tours amongst catamarans are a must do. You can catch your own with nets and take home.

The town and beach are busy and lively, studded with many hotels, rest houses, restaurants, bars and shops. Restaurants and shops serve the freshest seafood that include prawns and lobster from the Negombo marsh. The town also serves up a rich colonial history that was deeply influenced by the Catholic Church. There is a large Catholic community here.

Negombo is famous for its water sports. It’s a dream spot for wakeboarding and wake skating due to its perfect water conditions. The birthplace for kite surfing in Sri Lanka, it is another sport to indulge in especially from Jan-March when wind conditions are ideal for it.

Hot Air Balloon Rides

Kandalama

See the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka from above. You’ll be in for an ‘elevating’ experience, looking down on cultural and ancient landmarks as well as taking in the relief of the area in the unspoilt majesty of the dawn when it is breaking. The air balloons take off from a meeting point in Kandalama just before sunrise. Prior to takeoff you will be briefed on the flight. Once you land, a champagne breakfast awaits you. The whole affair lasts for 2-4 unforgettable hours.

Mountain biking and cycling

A unique way to take in the sights and scenes, there are many interesting trails in the lowlands. Ride through tea and rubber plantations and spice gardens or through the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa. Biking in Sigirya will have you encountering river valleys and rice fields.

Camping

There are quite a number of camping opportunities. Bundala National Park near Hambantota, cool Knuckles Mountain Range, among the indigenous Vadda people in Mahiyanganaya, atop a high platform in Lamasriyagama Royal Rice Field which is located in Kandy. All these have their own unique natural highlights and are great opportunities to get close to nature.

Canoeing

While canoeing is available in places like Arugam Bay and other coastal town, canoeing on Sorabora Lake which is technically a tank in Mahiyanganaya is a unique and tranquil experience. Take in the beautiful scenery and watch the sunset and sunrise from the middle of the lake. Canoe camps can also be arranged. This is where tents are placed on a platform placed on two canoes and are used as accommodation.

Birdwatching

Bundala National Park

The ultimate place for bird watching, all serious wildlife enthusiasts must visit this park. Hailed as a UNESCO biosphere reserve and a designated RAMSAR site, the park is home to migratory water birds. One of its highlights is the Greater Flamingo that can be seen in large flocks. Bundala is located southeast of Colombo and contains five shallow lagoons; three of these are active salt pans. The park also has sand dunes. Camping is available at two sites. Elephants inhabit the park but are less common due to invasive thorny plant species that encroach the park. Grey langurs can be seen in numbers.

Tanamalwila

More than 200 species of birds can be sighted during a stay in Tanamalwila. Observe and experience at firsthand the Sri Lankan village lifestyle. The people here are very friendly. Elephants are known to frequent the village and harm crops. The village is also popular for something else: Cannabis which is believed to be planted under the radar in the forest.

Scenery

Lipton Seat

Sir Thomas Lipton would survey the surrounding region of his tea plantation at Dambetenna, Haputale from this point. There are two routes that can be taken to get here: one from Haputale town and the other from Bandarawela. You can drive up to the Point although the road is a bit steep. So the best thing to do is drive most of the way and hike up the 1 km that is a gravel road. The drive up is scenic with tea gardens at every turn. Arriving at the point you will be left with a 360 degree view of Southern and Eastern Plains. However cloud cover can ruin the view. On a clear day the view is breathtaking seeing as far as the southern coastline.

If you are visiting the Lipton seat try to drop in at the Dambetenna Tea Factory too.

Night Mail and Observation Cart

If you are travelling up country, take the night mail train to Nanu Oya, Nuwara Eliya. It’s quite a treat, as you will arrive there a little after sunrise. Watch the sunrise from one of the train compartments. Dress warm as it gets very cold. When returning from Nuwara Eliya book the observation cart as you can observe the wonderful stretches of forest that lies between Nuwara Eliya and Badulla as well as pass under old tunnels. There are about more than 20 tunnels.

Clubbing

Several clubs are available in Colombo; some of them are attached to popular city hotels. They start late and go on till the wee hours of the morning. If you head to Hikkaduwa or Unawatuna regular parties can be found along the coast.

Ayurvedic Massage

Hotels around the country offer Ayurvedic massages through special appointment and on request. They are even some Ayuvedic hotels. They are a great way to relieve stress.

White water rafting and canoeing

Kitulgala

Kitulgala is famed for being the location where the famous “The Bridge over the River Kwai’ was filmed. A scenic location the river is a Kelani River tributary. Locals and tourists visit the place to go white water rafting. It is a great activity for both first timers and experienced, alike. White water rafting in Kitulgala sees a wide range and grading of rapids on some of Sri Lanka’s more turbulent waters. Apart from the attraction of the river, the Kelani Forest Reserve is made for nature treks and bird watching.

Kandy

Catch rapid from Peradeniya to Gatambe new bridge. The river passes by mountains on either side, the Peradeniya botanical gardens, Gatambe Buddhist Temple and a suspension bridge.

Nature

Knuckles Mountain Range

It resembles a clenched fist. Knuckles Mt Range or Dumbara Kanduwetiya lies north-east of Kandy and is of great conservation value. The entire area is usually shrouded in mist. At a higher elevation you will find cloud forests that harbor a variety of flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world. The slender red-eyed loris, one of the top 24 critically endangered primates in the world, can be found here. An extremely high level of biodiversity is encapsulated here and it is a strictly protected reserve.

Adam’s Peak

The River Mahaweli, the largest and longest river, begins at its summit. Also known by the name Samanala Kanda or Butterfly Mt., the natural phenomenon of butterfly migration can be observed where the butterflies having reached the peak meet the end of their lifecycle and die.

The mountain is surrounded by the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary that is home to a diverse array of prized flora and fauna. Many waterfalls can be found within the sanctuary. Tourists can enter the sanctuary having obtained permission by the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Department that has total control over the area.

Pinnawala Orphanage

The Orphanage can be found in Pinnawala, Northwest of Kegalle and is situated on a coconut plantation besides the Maha Oya River. The Orphanage was originally formed to take care of the many orphaned baby elephants in the wild. Visitors get the chance to see the elephants as they go into the river for their daily baths. One of the unforgettable moments comes at feeding time when baby elephants are fed with giant bottles of milk. You too can have a go. Don’t forget your camera or camcorder,you’ll definitely want to capture these moments on film.

Art

They are several Galleries such as Barefoot gallery on Galle Road Colombo, Vibhavi Insitute Gallery in Ethul Kotte, Eco House in Colombo 5, National Art Gallery at Green Path, Goethe Institute and Alliance Francaise. These host several art and photo exhibitions for the year.

Walk down green path near Viharamahadevi Park and you could find artists displaying their art on the sides of the road for sale.

Gardens

Peradeniya Botanical Gardens

The garden showcases more than 300 varieties of orchids, medicinal plants, palm trees and orchids. The Gardens also houses the National Herbarium. As you walk through the fine landscaped gardens you will be greeted by old and majestic trees. There are around ten thousand plants & trees inclusive of 4000 labeled specie A suspension takes you over the Mahaweli river where you can explore the other side of the garden that opens up to Double Coconut Avenue, Cook’s Pine Avenue, Royal Palm Avenue, Palmyrah Palm Avenue and Cabbage Palm Avenue. If you look closely at some of the name plates you will notice that some of these trees have been planted by eminent figures such as Indira Gandhi. The Botanical Gardens also have a spice garden and an orchid garden.

Haggala Gardens

Found South-east of Nuwara Eliya on the Badulla Road, Hakgala Gardens lies in the vicinity of the 2,200m towering Hakgala Rock. A forest reserve too can be found just a stone’s throw away.

The beauty of this garden lies in the terraced landscape that is filled with floral blooms, shrubs and trees. In the distance, range of mountains: Namunukula and Madulsima can be viewed. The atmosphere is cool and rejuvenating.

Caving

A relatively new activity in the island, Caving takes us to rock shelters and limestone caves in Wawulpane, Rathnapura that has a interior waterfall, Nitro cave in Meemure kandy and Istripura caves in Wallimada. Sita Kotuwa, Istripura and Ravana Ella caves are tied up to the legend of Demon King Ravana.

Some of the island’s caves have been converted in to temples as early as 1st century BC. Two of these are the world famous Dambulla and Aluvihara rock temples.

Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura

Situated almost at the centre of the island’s northern plains, the city rose to prominence very early in the development of Sri Lanka, and maintained its pre-eminent position for more than a millennium until being finally laid waste by Indian invaders in 993. Today, Anuradhapura remains a magical place....

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Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is home to the world’s largest troupe of captive pachyderms. The animals here range from newborns to elderly matriarchs, and include abandoned elephants, as well as those injured in the wild. Twice daily the elephants are driven to the Ma Oya river for a leisurely bath but...

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Hill Country
Hill Country

Occupying the island’s southern heartlands, the sublime green heights of the hill country are a world away from the sweltering coastal lowlands – indeed nothing encapsulates the scenic diversity of Sri Lanka as much as the short journey by road or rail from the humid urban melee of Colombo to the cool...

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Trincomalee
Trincomalee

Eastern Sri Lanka’s major town, Trincomalee has been celebrated since antiquity for its superlative deep-water harbour, one of the finest in the world. The town served as the major conduit for the island’s seaborne trade during the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa periods, and the harbour was later fought...

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Sigiriya
Sigiriya

About 165 km away from Colombo, the spectacular citadel of Sigiriya – a remarkable archeological site made unforgettable by its dramatic setting rises sheer and impregnable out of the denuded plains of the dry zone, sitting atop a huge outcrop of gneiss rock towering 200m above the surrounding countryside....

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Hotel Villa Viana, No 64A/1, Modara Wella, Marawila

 

What they say:

私は素敵な旅行のために、もう一度あなたに感謝したいと思います。グループの誰もが両方のスタッフと旅程で、幸せでした。素晴らしい仕事。

Ichirō Tsukada – Akiruno-shi, Tokyo 197-0833 Japan

We have just arrived back in Kyiv after the most incredible holiday in Sri Lanka. It has been a tour of a lifetime arranged by Maldiviana Holidays. The 6 days we spent truly added so much to our experience. Our only sadness is that we were not able to spend more time

Kateryna Berezhnaya – m. Kyiv, 03110 Ukraine

My family have asked me to thank you once again for our wonderful tour of Sri Lanka. You looked after us so nicely & we saw more than we had expected. Historical places were totally magnificent, to finish with that relaxing beach holiday, but so much more besides.

Blažek Ivánek – Praha 4, 14000 Czech Republic

We spent 2 weeks in Sri Lanka & Maldives, in the capable hands of Maldiviana. Everything worked without a hitch. Excellent experience and I can’t say enough about guides. They were knowledgeable, but more importantly, they understood our expectations every time.

Oksana Fyodorova – Voronejskaya obl, 247112 Russia

 

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